Sunday, May 1, 2011

Critique of Teltumbde's article "Crisis Of Ambedkarites And Future Challenges"

Let me just make a few points here and there. Mr Teltumbde makes a big fallacy w...hen he states that the fight of the urban dalits is completely disconnected from the struggle of the rural dalits. If that was the case the BSP, which came to power on the votes of the rural dalits would never have come in to existence. The BSP came in to existence by the plank created by BAMCEF, which was a union of govt sc/st employees.
Dr Teltumbde points out that political power does not translate in to emancipation as you have quoted him, but at the same time makes emotional underpinnings to dalits being landless struggling against the ruling class. He also seems to be against this celebration of dalit industrialists as an excersise in copying the ruling castes. In some sense Dr Teltumbde is pointing to a communist logic that states that dalits have to stick to labour and fight against the oppressing elements which make up the industrailists etc (havent read the article in all its details, but this is what the gist of the article really seems to suggest). Dr Teltumbde does not seem to realize that a struggle getting framed as a policy matter needs to happen at the political power center in any democracy, so a share in the power centre is a must.
The statement that you have made above, about the enemies of the dalits being the obcs and most of the dalit problems are of a rural origin and all that matters is land rights had been used in a negative light prior to mandal with the uppercastes telling the backwards that the dalist are stealing their jobs thanks to reservations. Also talking about the backward castes, Dr teltumbde does not seem to mention that they are a fractured lot themselbes, with the minority land owning backward castes and the majority MBC;s or most backward castes living in a similar situation to the dalits. This union of MBCs and Mahadalits got Nitish kumar to power in Bihar.
Also, the statement that politival power does not change much seems so inane when u look at states such as UP, where even though crimes against dalits still exists, the majority consensus among the community has been one of increased self respect and assertion. The amount of land re-distributions, transferring of corrupt police officers who were against dalit interests etc are revolutionary.
Also hwo do you struggle for land redistribution. This problem is known to the dalits educated or uneducated since the forming of the country. The way of politics goes in steps. Before it used to be the upper-OBCs living in the villages discriminating against the dalits and the uppercastes not allowing dalits to progress in the cities. There was no clash of interests between the OBCs and uppercastes who were stuck with two different indias. The agitation for mandal comission which was primarly spearheaded by the educated urban dalits and which was for the benefit of the OBCs, got the OBC in to clash with the uppercastes. The OBCs began to realise that the actual source of economic stronghold lies in the cities and it is when this fracturing of the entire caste establishment that put two dominating entities against each other came up, that you had a pro-dalit party like BSP coming in to power. Following Kanshiramji, who said "as long as caste exists, i will use it for the betterment of my people" would in Dr Teltumbdes view be tantamount to following the path of brahminism.
Also Dr Teltumbde does not realize that in a globalized market the aim of dalits is to look for what oppurtunities come across. It does seem hypocritical to insult the guys who celebrated the coming of dalit entrepreneurs as a way of gearing the thinking of the community towards entrepreuership at the same time working as a top executive in a semi-private establishment of india.
Now, with this line of thought as to how representation does have its wisdom for dalits, minorities etc, I would like u guys to read my previous posts.
Also there is a difference between attacking raja and attacking mayawati. Raja is a corrupt guy who just happens to be a dalit. What mayawati or BSP symbolizes is an idea of empowerment of a community that has been demasculinized for millenia. And it is this sentiment of 'ruling' in a state according to your own terms in a country that even today disrespects your very existence, that makes dalits all around india identify with mayawati. It is this reason that I would appreciate you not using choice words when talking about her, just as you would not go calling a black guy a nigga, just because all blacks say it. The teltumbde article points to the mayawati statue building as being a plain ego building excersise. It is this identification that makes her celebrate her birthday grandiosely (which I frankly believe she does not do plainly because of narcissitiv tendencies), because the ire that she picks up from the uppercaste dominated press, makes her an idol of adulation among the dalits even more, who see such ire from the higher castes in their daily life. It is in such regards, that Dr Teltumbde does not understand the very activity of her building statues, which he plainly labels as an ego building, really represents an affirmation of identity among her electorate and plainly asking this electorate to identify itself as some ploretarait definition of communism is not even beginning to understand the emotional underpinnings of a viable movement among the dalits.

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